Christoph König is a conductor of deep intelligence and musicality. His conducting is marked by an energetic and serious approach to musical collaboration and a commitment to thoughtful and stimulating programming. He currently holds positions as Principal Conductor of the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música (from January 2009) and Principal Conductor & Music Director of the Solistes Européens, Luxembourg (from September 2010). With Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Musica he has toured to Brazil and Europe including performances in Vienna, Rotterdam, Antwerp and at the Musica Festival in Strasbourg. He recently performed with the Solistes Européens, Luxembourg at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and at the Philharmonie Cologne.
König is in demand as a guest conductor. His recent performances have included engagements with the Orchestre de Paris, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra London, Danish National Symphony, Netherlands Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, Barcelona Symphony, Tampere Philharmonic, Real Filharmonía de Galícia, Radio Orchestra (RTVE) in Madrid, Orquesta y Coro de la Comunidad de Madrid, New Zealand Symphony, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra whom he led on a highly successful tour of China (2008). Since his debut in the US in 2010 he has conducted the Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony and Colorado Symphony Orchestras.
Future guest-conducting engagements include the Staatskapelle Dresden, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Stuttgart Philharmonic, Beethoven Orchester Bonn, Orquesta de Euskadi, Dresden Philharmonic, St Gallen Sinfonieorchester, BBC Scottish Symphony and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. In the USA he will return to the Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony, New Jersey, Indianapolis and Houston Symphony Orchestras whilst new engagements take him to the Calgary and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestras.
Christoph König’s reputation as an opera conductor rose swiftly after stepping in at short notice to successfully direct the Zürich Opera’s 2003 production of Jonathan Miller’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail. He has also led Zurich Opera in productions of Die Zauberflöte and Il Turco in Italia with Cecilia Bartoli and Ruggero Raimondi. Other operatic productions include Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Teatro Real in Madrid, Don Giovanni at the Staatsoper in Stuttgart and Die Zauberflöte and Rigoletto at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
CD recordings include works by Gösta Nystroem (BIS), Schoenberg and Prokofiev (Romeo & Juliet), Saariaho and Sibelius (Symphony No 7) with the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música (Ao Vivo), Melcer with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (Hyperion), Beethoven Symphonies with the Malmo Symphony Orchestra (DB Productions) and Prokofiev and Mozart with the Solistes Européens, Luxembourg (SEL Classics).König was born in Dresden, where he sang in the celebrated Dresdner Kreuzchor. He studied conducting, piano and singing at the Dresdner Musikhochschule. His early work as a conductor took him to masterclasses given by, amongst others, Sergiu Celibidache, and Sir Colin Davis, with whom he worked as assistant conductor/ Korrepetiteur at the Dresden Opera. From 2001 he was Erster Kapellmeister at the Bonn Opera/Beethoven Orchestra.
Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música has been conducted by guest conductors such as Andris Nelsons, Reinbert de Leeuw, Vasily Petrenko, Tugan Sokhiev, Martin André, Peter Rundel, Yves Abel, Joseph Swensen, Takuo Yuasa, Pablo Heras-Casado, Olari Elts, John Storgårds and Joana Carneiro. It has performed with soloists including António Meneses, Håkan Hardenberger, Andreas Haefliger, Boris Berezovsky, Natalia Gutman, Christian Lindberg, Marc-André Hamelin, Sequeira Costa, Simon Trpčeski, Gerardo Ribeiro, Lise de la Salle, Ana Bela Chaves, Martin Grubinger, Midori, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Lisa Milne, Birgit Remmert, Joyce DiDonato, Elisabete Matos, Anssi Karttunen or Steven Isserlis. It has worked with some of the foremost contemporary composers, from Emmanuel Nunes to Magnus Lindberg, Jonathan Harvey and Kaija Saariaho.
In the coming months guest conductors such as Michail Jurowski, Matthias Bamert and Andrew Litton will make their debuts, as well as soloists like Till Fellner, Kari Kriikku, David Wilson-Johnson, Brandford Marsalis, Christoph Prégardien and Daniel Müller-Schott.
The activities of the orchestra include a wide range of musical styles, such as jazz, fado or hip-hop and playing for films, as well as regular series of concerts involving presenters. Equally there is a strong commitment towards educational activities: each year, as part of the project “The orchestra goes to school”, the orchestra visits a range of schools in the region. Further, it undertakes workshops for young composers as well as master classes for conductors under the supervision of the famous teacher and conductor Jorma Panula. During the 2010-2011 seasons it will be the first Portuguese orchestra to perform all of Mahler’s symphonies.
Apart from performing over fifty concerts per year at Casa da Música, it is increasingly performing outside Porto, having visited the Konzerthaus in Vienna , the Auditorium in Santiago de Compostela, and the Grande Auditório Gulbenkian in Lisbon in 2010. The coming year sees performances at the Philharmonie in Luxemburg, at the deSingel in Antwerp and at the Doelen in Rotterdam as well as return visits to Santiago de Compostela and Centro Cultural de Belém in Lisbon.
The Orchestra has recently recorded works by Jonathan Harvey, Schoenberg, Prokofiev, Sibelius and Kaija Saariaho. It also recorded “Follow The Songlines” for Naïve.
The origins of the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música go back to 1947, when the Orquestra Sinfónica do Conservatório de Música do Porto was formed, which was later made part of Emissora Nacional (the national radio station). Since then, it has had different names, the last of which being Orquestra Nacional do Porto, the name it carried from 1997 and under which it was expanded to symphonic size in 2000. Presently is has 94 permanent members, which enables it to perform the entire symphonic repertoire from the classical period to the 21st century. The Orchestra has been part of Fundação Casa da Música since July 2006.
They are Europeans, these musicians from the best orchestras of the old continent who have been playing together regularly in Luxembourg for more than 20 years - their first concert was on 20 September 1989 - in concerts and making recordings. They also tour regularly.
Every season in Luxembourg, and now in the capital's magnificent Philharmonie, they offer their faithful public two cycles of Monday concerts. They also appear at the international festivals of Echternach and Wiltz. They have accompanied the most renowned soloists and captivated both audiences and critics in the major European musical centers. In May 2004 they performed at the UN in New York to mark the EU enlargement.
The Solistes Européens, Luxembourg have recorded more than 100 CDs, including all Haydn's London Symphonies on Sony Classical, and 7 DVDs. They have performed on German, Czech, Hungarian and Polish TV and on many European, American and Asian radio stations through made broadcasts of their concerts by the EUR network. They have a very large repertoire and by playing works by Sofia Gubaidulina, Milan Slavicky, Arvo Pärt and Thierry Escaich, they have extended their range to contemporary composers.
Equally eager to promote the future of music, each season the Solistes Européens,Luxembourg organize concerts for young talents: Since 2006 they have been a partner of MIDEM CLASSICAL AWARDS for the "Outstanding Young Artist " in partnership with IAMA, the International Artists Managers' Association. In 2007 they were the official orchestra of the Midem Classical Awards Ceremony.
In September 2010 Christoph König has been appointed Musical Director and Principal conductor.
They founded and promote the European Music Academy at Schengen (EMA). In 2005 they started, in the chamber music hall of the Philharmonie Luxembourg, an CAMERATA cycle entitled "From one generation to the other".
The SEL, whose activities are supported by the Ministry of Culture, Higher Education and Research, the Fonds Culturel National, Ville de Luxembourg and numerous sponsors is one of the main hubs of Luxembourg's musical life.